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Investment Abroad and Adjustment at Home: evidence from UK multinational firms

  • Helen Simpson


This paper provides new evidence on the effects of overseas FDI on the skill-mix of multinational firms’ home-country operations. The analysis exploits China’s WTO accession to identify the impact of outward investment into a low-wage economy, and uses plant-level data to investigate changes in industrial structure within firms driven by plant closures. As predicted by models of vertical FDI the paper demonstrates that overseas investment in low-wage economies is associated with asymmetric effects on workers in low and high skill industries in the home economy, and in particular with firms closing down plants in low-skill industries.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 08/207.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:08/207
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  1. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "The Growth And Failure Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Papers 1-87-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  2. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418.
  3. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Offshore production and skill upgrading by Japanese manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 81-105, October.
  4. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Chiara Criscuolo & Ralf Martin, 2005. "Multinationals and US productivity leadership: evidence from Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19914, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & Helen Simpson, 2004. "Foreign Ownership and Productivity: New Evidence from the Service Sector and the R&D Lab," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3699, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. J. Bradford Jensen & Andrew Bernard & Peter Schott, 2005. "Survival of the Best Fit: Exposure to Low-Wage Countries and the (Uneven) Growth of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 05-19, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2006. "Margins of Multinational Labor Substitution," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6b2236xm, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  9. G–rg, Holger & Eric Strobl, 2002. ""Footloose" Multinationals?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 89, Royal Economic Society.
  10. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
  11. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Vertical Production Networks in Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 664-678, November.
  12. Griffith, Rachel, 1999. "Using the ARD Establishment Level Data to Look at Foreign Ownership and Productivity in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F416-42, June.
  13. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Disney, Richard F & Haskel, Jonathan & Heden, Ylva, 2000. "Restructuring And Productivity Growth In UK Manufacturing," CEPR Discussion Papers 2463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. David A. Riker & S. Lael Brainard, 1997. "U.S. Multinationals and Competition from Low Wage Countries," NBER Working Papers 5959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2003. "The Role of Skill Endowments in the Structure of U.S. Outward Foreign Direct Investment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 726-734, August.
  17. Francesca Fabbri & Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2003. "Does Nationality Of Ownership Matter For Labor Demands?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 698-707, 04/05.
  18. Alexander Hijzen & Holger Görg & Robert C. Hine, 2005. "International Outsourcing and the Skill Structure of Labour Demand in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 860-878, October.
  19. Elhanan Helpman, 1985. "Multinational Corporations and Trade Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 443-457.
  20. Braconier, Henrik & Ekholm, Karolina, 1999. "Swedish Multinationals and Competition from High- and Low-Wage Locations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2323, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Entry, Exit and Establishment Survival in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 91-112, 03.
  22. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2006. "Firm Structure, Multinationals, and Manufacturing Plant Deaths," Working Paper Series WP06-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  23. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Linda Low & Eric D. Ramstetter & Henry Wai-Chung Yeung, 1998. "Accounting for Outward Direct Investment from Hong Kong and Singapore: Who Controls What?," NBER Chapters, in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 139-172 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Fragmentation and multinational production," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 935-945, April.
  26. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. S. Lael Brainard & David A. Riker, 1997. "Are U.S. Multinationals Exporting U.S. Jobs?," NBER Working Papers 5958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. John Whalley & Xian Xin, 2006. "China's FDI and Non-FDI Economies and the Sustainability of Future High Chinese Growth," NBER Working Papers 12249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Lee Branstetter & Nicholas Lardy, 2006. "China's Embrace of Globalization," NBER Working Papers 12373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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